At a time the country’s public health facilities are experiencing a shortage of drugs and medical supplies, it has transpired that the Central Medical Stores Trust (CMST) is sitting on medical supplies worth over K200 million which may expire if they are not used now.
Confirming the development in an interview after donating part of the drugs to Ministry of Health for use in the forthcoming East, Central and Southern Africa Medical Camp to be held in November in Thyolo, CMST director of pharmaceutical operations Moses Chisale said most of the drugs were inherited from the previous Central Medical Stores (CMS).
Said Chisale: “Some of the items we inherited were bought six or seven years ago. Sometimes there was massive procurement of slow moving medical supplies; hence, the drugs not being dispensed to hospitals.
“Despite that, we have donated medicines and medical equipment worth over K50 million today, I believe the total stock that is in danger of expiring is over K200 million.”
He said some of the supplies include chemicals which could not be used in many hospitals because the machines in which they are used broke down.
“You see, technology is moving very fast and if you are not careful in the way you purchase medical equipment and even drugs, you run the risk of having the supplies expired,” said Chisale.
He added that it is necessary that proper procedures are followed to make sure supplies do not expire while on shelves.
In her remarks, Minister of Health Jean Kalilani, who did not comment on the drugs and supplies issue, commended CMST for the donation, saying it will go a long way in assisting patients during the medical camp.
Said Kalilani: “For about a week, specialist doctors from various countries in the East, Central and Southern African region will see our patients who require specialist attention.
“While these doctors bring the much needed expertise to help our patients, there is a great need for various pieces of equipment and supplies to make the event successful.”
Some of the donated items include 351 wheeled refuse bins, bed sheets, blankets, mattresses, lockers, cotton wool and X-ray envelopes.